"There are two wines. They were both wines that I had at the same place – I can even remember where I was standing when I was drinking them: at the bar at my previous job at Serenade restaurant in Chatham, New Jersey.
The first was a 1961 Château Margaux. It was brought in by a collector, Don Stott, a fairly regular guest at the restaurant who loved to share his wines with us. He brought in this '61 Margaux from his personal collection. At the end of the night I was standing at the bar, and he was finishing his meal and told me I should try it.
I will never forget how beautifully elegant it was. I thought, ‘This is my type of wine.’ Until then, I wouldn’t say I was a Bordeaux drinker. Perhaps that was why it was such a revelation.
I’ve had my red Burgundy moment too – with food. Up until then I’d had good food and wine matches, but this was an epiphany, the proverbial Hallelujah chorus in the background. It was a 1971 Gevrey-Chambertin from Domaine Rossignol-Trapet, with seared red snapper and a carrot slaw with mushrooms. I was standing dead center of the bar after hours and a guest had left me the end of the bottle.
I knew food and wine went well together, but this transcended all conceptions of how they can be paired. It has really influenced my understanding of what can be done with food and wine.
Most of us know that you don’t have to stick to the old adage of red wine with meat and white wine with fish. But it made me realize that it’s not always the main item on the plate, because the carrot slaw pulled out all the fruit in that wine and the mushroom pulled out all the earthiness. The texture of the wine went so well with the fish, it was a really complete multidimensional pairing for me.
That’s when I realized you had to look at food and wine pairing in multiple dimensions. It made me willing to experiment."
As told to Rebecca Gibb
Fast Facts from Wine-Searcher's search engine:
- Average price (ex-tax): $1,724
- Search ranking for Château Margaux: No. 3
- Average price across all vintages: $43
- The Trapet family has owned vineyards in Gevrey-Chambertin since the 18th century.